What’s that “fishy odor” and why is my pet scooting?

Noticing that your pet has been licking or scooting on his behind lately? Have you noticed an odorous, almost “fishy” smell, from your furry companion? Noticing these behaviors MAY be a sign of Anal Gland problems.

The anal glands are small, pea-shaped, glands on each side of the inner rectal wall. These glands fill with a malodorous fluid that is typically used in natural scent marking. In normal circumstances, every time your pet has a bowel movement, the material that has built up in these glands releases simultaneously, emptying the gland. This behavior is one useful in the wild where marking of territory is required for protecting a pack and warning other canines to stay out of the area. However, for unknown reasons, some pets require occasional to frequent manual expression of the material built up in these glands. It is unknown why certain dogs and cats become more prone to needing these “anal gland expressions”, but some theories include: low fiber intake, diet and loose stool. The need for professional anal gland expressing seems to increase in small breed dogs, such as chihuahuas, yorkshire terriers, maltese, shih tzus, and pugs to name a few; but is possible in all breeds of dog, even including cats!

    IF you notice your pet scooting or licking at his back end, it is very important to bring him in to have the anal glands checked and, if full, expressed. Allowing the glands to continue to build with fluid, without releasing the fluid regularly, can lead to anal gland abscesses or infection, thickened material, difficulty in expressing the glands and pain or discomfort for your pet.

       At this time, one of our veterinarians or technicians can discuss things you may try at home to reduce the frequency of the need for manual expression. TSVC now carries a wonderful product known as: Glandex. Glandex is a beef-flavored fiber based nutritional supplement that is used daily in attempts to reduce gland material buildup and assist in natural expression of the glands. For further questions concerning anal glands or if you believe your pet may need an anal gland expression, please call us at 480-945-8484!

*Pictures courtesy of Google Images*